Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Happy 2010!

New Year's Day: Pig Farm with JK. Looks like Santa had a rough night and passed out in the driveway.

January 2: Easy ride up Spruce. Then met La Roleurette for brunch at the Can't Fail Cafe.

January 3: Tour de Refinery, AKA first half of the Grizzly Peak Century. Good lord, it was cold out. I thought the snipers were going to take me down as I shot this photo.

Wednesday, 30 December 2009

New Year's Eve Miscellania

I stopped by the video store after spinning to pick up a movie, and noticed this in the Comedy aisle:

Also, as I was packing my board this evening, I noticed that the skiier hitman tore the beejeebus out of the tail. Ouch. That's going to cost me. DAMN YOU, SKIIERS!!

Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Man Down

I'm Hit! Today I was a casualty in the Great Skiier vs. Snowboarder Holy War. Last run of the day, and the guy plows into me from nowhere. Never saw him coming. Thank god for the helmet, because I went down hard. Whiplash is already creeping in. In retaliation, I plan on tripping a skiier as we get off the lift tomorrow.

Seriously, I'm done with snow and ready for road. With idle time on my hands, I've been spending way too much time trolling through the interwebs for all things bikely, and can't wait to get back in the saddle. Check this site out for really well produced mini-docs on the Cervelo Team over the 2009 season. Witness: scary driving/sandwich eating by their DS, the biggest watches you've ever seen, racy shots of Heinrich Hausler on the massage table, and the narrator's cute Canadian accent. I really liked the Flanders episode.

Tomorrow I can look foward to another extended spin session at the rec center. So sweaty.

Routine. When I snowboard alone I sometimes get in my own head. Today, I began to notice the little chair lift routine that I repeat on every run:
  1. Hockey stop.
  2. Unstrap back leg.
  3. Loosen front buckles.
  4. Get on lift.
  5. Pull down footrest/safety bar.
  6. Pull up gaiter to cover mouth and nose.
  7. Pull hood over helmet.
  8. Draw fingers out of mitts and clench thumbs for warmth.
  9. Sit and plan my next run.
  10. Re-insert fingers in mitt.
  11. Push off hood.
  12. Push up safety bar.
  13. Get off lift.
  14. Pull down gaiter.
  15. Strap in back foot
  16. Tighten front buckles.
  17. Rip shreds to the extreme!!!!
This pattern somehow made me feel all warm inside - literally and figuratively. I am a self-admitted creature of habit, and take odd satisfaction from learning and internalizing a system that works efficiently and consistently. I have routines for getting out the door to go snowboarding, taking a shower in the gym after spin class, and prepping for a bike ride. Oddly, the Rain Man routine of prepping the bottles and food, laying out the clothes, getting out the bag, and packing the gear is part of what I enjoy about riding bikes.

I'm not alone in this. See Joe Parkin's description of pre-race prep in Belgium. I love that post.

Sunday, 27 December 2009


Since arriving in Whistler, I've been on the slopes three times, and done two indoor cycling sessions at the local rec center, which is more decked out than most high-end gyms. They even have legit spin bikes with SPD pedals. Given the mediocre snow conditions, I'll probably put in another 90 minute spin tomorrow.

I don't mind too much. I've got a ton of podcasts to keep me company, and started Born to Run by Christopher McDougall on audiobook. I'm only 20 minutes in, but give it a big thumbs up so far. For me, running was never more than an efficient workout, a means to an end, even before my foot problems started. But I can still appreciate the stories of athletic achievement, and sympathize with the author's struggle with injuries over the years.

Another book review: Ten Points, Bill Strickland. My sister sent it to me for Christmas. The book draws parallels between Strickland's relationship with his wife and daughter, his desperate bid to win points at the local crit, and the gut-wrenching abuse suffered at the hands of his father.

Strickland is the editor-at-large for Bicycling magazine, so it's no surprise that he successfully evokes the rush of the pack at 30 miles an hour - better than any other book I've read, actually. His feelings for his wife and daughter are also nicely drawn, if a bit mawkish.

I wonder, though, can a memoir be too personal? Strickland lays bare his soul in this book, and at times I felt like I had to turn away. Rape, physical abuse, animal cruelty, Russian Roulette (!) - it's all there. While writing about these events in unflinching detail requires real courage, at times the pieces seemed gratuitous (do we really need half a page on what it's like to literally eat shit?).

My biggest issue with the book, though, is that the links between Strickland's childhood, his family, and bike racing are often ham-fisted. The best writing appears seamless; in this book the nails and glue are just a bit too apparent. Strickland regularly uses images from his current life to trigger flashbacks to some terrible experience with his dad. This device begins to feel like a literary crutch after a few times.

So in the style of Bicyling's product reviews....
Buy it if: You crave the thrill of the pack - from the safety of your armchair.
Don't buy it if: Oversharing makes you squirm.

Friday, 25 December 2009

Day of Rest

Relaxing day with La Roleurette and my parents. We had brunch at the Westin (nice pancakes), walked around Whistler Village, checked out the Olympic merchandise, and watched Up in the Air (two thumbs up). Leftover turkey et al tonight...

Merry Christmas!

p.s. The 2010 Olympic merch is super cool. The Meomi stuff is almost unbearably cute.

Thursday, 24 December 2009

All I Want for Christmas is Snow

Sadly, despite the solid base, Whistler/Blackcomb is hurting for some fresh snow. Is it possible for 8,100 acres to be skied out? Apparently. It's ok, though - with the big board, I'm happy to just go fast on the groomers. All 172 cm are super stable at speed, and make for super fun carving.

Wednesday, 23 December 2009


As seen from the plane and newly widened Sea to Sky Highway...